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Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, tried to lift a federal ban on carrying firearms into post offices earlier this month. That effort failed in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, but the panel did vote unanimously to allow guns on post office grounds, though not the buildings themselves.

“After Newtown, gun rights were on the ropes — at least it appeared,” said Adam Winkler, a constitutional law expert at the UCLA School of Law. “Perhaps the Newtown effect is starting to fade.”